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In Position – The Birth Position Of The Baby In The Womb
In the first few months of pregnancy, the unborn baby still changes position frequently in the mother’s womb. It is not until the end of pregnancy that the position of the baby becomes decisive: it determines the position in which the baby is born.
During early pregnancy, the fetus can still move freely in the uterus. Often, the pregnant woman can clearly feel how vigorously her offspring is kicking and turning. Ultrasound studies have shown that the unborn child already has 15 different movement patterns at the end of the 15th week of pregnancy. These include a kicking movement that allows it to somersault and change position within seconds.
In the last trimester, things get tighter for the baby and most spend the rest of the pregnancy squatting upright in the uterus, abdomen and umbilical cord facing the placenta.
The Birth Position
About four weeks before birth, the baby assumes its final position. By the 36th week of pregnancy, 90 percent of babies have settled into the optimal birthing position. The so-called anterior occipital position (cranial position) offers the best conditions for a problem-free birth. The occiput enters the birth canal first and paves the way for the little body. The chin is drawn to the chest, the face faces the mother’s sacrum. This is the path taken by the vast majority of babies. Some even remain in their squatting position until the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy and only turn shortly before birth.
Scientists have not yet found out what factors cause the unborn child to position itself upside down in the amniotic sac in time. It is believed that the sinking of the uterus at the end of pregnancy once again makes room for the baby and promotes rotation.
Skillful Turning Maneuver
At the last check-up appointments, the gynecologist closely observes where the head and rump of the unborn baby are located. In rare cases, the baby does not want to turn at all in the cranial position. Possible reasons:
- The baby remains in the already pre-expanded uterus with the rump down – often in multiparous women.
- The baby does not have enough room to turn because the mother’s pelvis and uterus are too narrow.
- It becomes a premature birth.
- It is a multiple pregnancy.
Experts also discuss whether a difficult life situation or great fears of the woman about the approaching birth could unconsciously provoke a pelvic end position. There is no connection between the position of the placenta in the uterus and the final position of the child. And even a very short umbilical cord (less than 50 centimeters) still allows the baby to turn on its own axis.
If rotation is theoretically possible, obstetricians can try various things to get the unborn baby to change position: Moxibustion, acupuncture, the Indian bridge, Zilgrei exercises or a turn with targeted grips from the outside (see info box). Success rate of the maneuvers: 60 to 90 percent. However, it happens that after successful turning, a child has turned back again by the time of delivery.